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Exchange of Remarks With the French Ambassador About France's Gift for the American Bicentennial Celebration.

July 10, 1974

THE PRESIDENT. This is a splendid thing that your government in France is doing.

AMBASSADOR [JACQUES] KOSCIUSKOMORIZET. Yes, Mr. President. In 1976, the American people will be celebrating the Bicentennial of the independence of their Nation. Of course, the Bicentennial is an American commemoration. That is also an anniversary for France, the anniversary of our relations between our two countries, the anniversary of our participation in the Independence War, and the celebration of a friendship, devoted, which has never failed for all of history and has been filled with comments and advice and mutual achievements.

And because the people of France are committed to the Bicentennial of the independence of the United States, President Valery Giscard d'Estaing asked me to remit to you a letter presenting the American people with the sound and light spectacle, which in '76 will take place at Mount Vernon on the site of the historical mansion of George Washington.

And we think it was a proper time to make this announcement in the week between Independence Day and Bastille Day.

THE PRESIDENT. Mr. Ambassador, I want to express appreciation on behalf of all of the American people for this splendid gesture on the part of the French people and the French Government.

And would you express my personal appreciation to your President, Valery Giscard d'Estaing, for his interest in this?

I would say that any historian knows that had it not been for the support of France, the United States would not be independent today, and that special relationship is one that we Americans have never forgotten.

We have always stood by France, and France has always stood by us, and it will continue in the future.

Also, with regard to the sound and light programs, I think you should know that in 1963 I took a trip with my family through various parts of Europe and the Mideast, and I saw a sound and light program in three different places: one in Rome, one also in Athens, and another one in Cairo at the Pyramids. It is a splendid concept.

And I know that it is primarily due to those French who participated in developing the concept that those programs have been put on, and to have one during our Bicentennial year, to have it at Mount Vernon, I think, is as fine a gift--we will call it that--that you can make, you and your people, to the United States.

I think hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of Americans will come there to see it, and they will be reminded not only of our independence but of the part that France has played in gaining the independence and also of the continued French-American friendship, which is as strong today as it was that day and will remain so.

AMBASSADOR KOSCIUSKO-MORIZET. Thank you, Mr. President. I will see President Valery Giscard d'Estaing next week. I can bring your messages to him.

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, I will look forward to seeing him sometime in the future.

Thank you.

Note: The exchange of remarks began at 12:35 p.m. in the Oval Office at the White House.

Richard Nixon, Exchange of Remarks With the French Ambassador About France's Gift for the American Bicentennial Celebration. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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